Formed in 2011 as Gyze, Samurai Metal band RYUJIN deftly deliver heavy metal and blazing guitar wizardry from Japan with their upcoming self-titled album, RYUJIN, out January 12, 2024 via Napalm Records. Today, the band is thrilled to share their heaviest, fastest folk-infused burner yet, entitled "Gekokujo", alongside an intense, high production value music video. The track explores shades of death metal, thrash and folk influence, colliding as a riff-fest of head-spinning technique!
Blending both Japanese and English lyricism and featuring production and several guest features by Matthew Kiichi Heafy (Trivium), RYUJIN's high speed riffs and breakneck guitar descents pair with traditional Japanese elements on their upcoming self-titled album, delivering a sound influenced by everything from ancient orchestral Gagaku to even modern anime themes.
RYUJIN frontman and mastermind Ryoji Shinomoto says about the new single:
"In Japanese history, gekokujo refers to the act of a lower-ranking person politically or militarily overthrowing a higher-ranking person, violating the social order, and seizing power.
I would say the song is Japanese horror folk metal. The music video also depicts Japan's unique horror. Enjoy the dark side of RYUJIN too!"
After releasing four highly acclaimed albums and appearing at major festivals worldwide, RYUJIN have developed their own identity, expressed with accents of tasteful traditional Japanese instrumentation (i.e. Shamisen, Dragon Flute, Erhu, Taiko), and lead guitar god Ryoji Shinomoto's incredible shredding technique and ripping vocals!
RYUJIN features production by Matthew Kiichi Heafy and mixing/mastering by Mark Lewis, with guest appearances by Heafy (vocals and conducting on various tracks) and Mukai Wataru of the Kansai Philharmonic Orchestra (cello). Blending both Japanese and English lyricism, RYUJIN’s tracks feature titles based on the words of the Ainu people of Hokkaido (RYUJIN’s home region), as well as famous Japanese paintings and idioms.
Pre-Order RYUJIN HERE
Opening instrumental track “Hajimari” sets an ominous stage for blistering burner “Gekokujo” - a tastefully thrash-ified death metal riff-fest colliding with expressive folk-inspired passages and head-spinning technique. Ryoji’s blazing leads are met instantly with the peerless skills of drummer Shuji Shinomoto and bassist Aruta Watanabe. First single “Raijin & Fujin” is an epic power metal storm featuring guest vocal contributions from Matthew Kiichi Heafy, shifting into a swirling tornado of rattling double bass and catapulting solos, while “The Rainbow Song” also features soaring clean vocals by Heafy blended between modern melodic heavy metal and power metal innovation. Tracks like “Dragon, Fly Free” and “Kunnecup” invite the listener to sing-along with RYUJIN as they paint musical canvases of adventure and positivity. “Scream of the Dragon” returns to extreme influences amid uplifting choruses and a story blending English and Japanese lyrics, before “Gekirin” ventures into darker death metal influences - cascading into nautically-inspired melodies (as “Ryujin” is a dragon god of the sea in Japanese mythology, these oceanic musical themes weave seamlessly throughout the album).
The album nears the end with three heart-gripping, primarily Japanese-language opuses - the rock-opera-like ballad “Saigo No Hoshi”, the powerfully victorious and traditionally-inspired “Ryujin” and a cover of Linked Horizon’s “Guren No Yumiya” - widely known as an opening theme of popular anime series Attack On Titan. The album finishes with a bonus English-language version of “Saigo No Hoshi”, with vocals once again performed by Matthew Kiichi Heafy.
RYUJIN illustrates an exotic sonic experience that will transport music lovers to a world of fantastic adventure and technical extravagance!
RYUJIN track listing:
3. Dragon, Fly Free
4. Raijin & Fujin
5. The Rainbow Song
7. Scream of the Dragon
9. Saigo No Hoshi
11. Guren No Yumiya
12. Saigo No Hoshi (feat. Matthew K. Heafy) (Single Edit)